San Francisco officials have unanimously voted for a law that makes it illegal for people to make racially-motivated 911 calls.
Members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors expressed their full support for the Caution Against Racially and Exploitative Non-Emergencies, or CAREN Act in short, during a meeting on Oct. 20, according to Pink News.
“The CAREN Act will expand the definition of a protected class in San Francisco to prevent false emergency calls with the specific intent to discriminate against a person or otherwise infringe the person’s rights or cause the person specified harms on the basis of the person’s race, color, ancestry, national origin, place of birth, sex, age, religion, creed, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, weight, or height,” the statement for the act reads via ABC7.
Those who make a false 911 call will face up to a $1,000 fine to be paid to the person being accused and any other legal fees. The act will also cover any discriminatory report made to law enforcement, SF Examiner reported.
“When law enforcement responds to non-emergency calls as a result of the caller’s prejudice, discriminatory views, and racial bias, it diverts resources away from actual emergencies to the unnecessary policing of people of color,” the statement continues. “This is another form of racial violence instigated against people of color that causes further mistrust between communities of color and law enforcement.”
The act was introduced by the Board of Supervisors members, Shamann Walton and Matt Haney, in July after several videos of people making a false police report emerged online.
One viral incident that occurred in June involved Lisa Alexander, a CEO of a cosmetics company called LaFace Skincare, calling the police on Filipino American James Juanillo after she saw him stenciling “Black Lives Matter” on his property. Alexander later apologized for her actions.
A white couple call the police on me, a person of color, for stencilling a #BLM chalk message on my own front retaining wall. “Karen” lies and says she knows that I don’t live in my own house, because she knows the person who lives here. #blacklivesmatter pic.twitter.com/rOpHvKVwgP
— Jaimetoons (@jaimetoons) June 12, 2020
The new act will help protect people of color from discrimination as well as discourage “future Karens and Kens from destroying themselves on social media by practicing caution,” Juanillo said.
“This strikes me as a piece of legislation that is about more than just creating a new crime or creating a new legal response but really is seeking to do something deeper and more important which is to change how people relate to each other,” said Supervisor Rafael Mandelman.
Feature Image via ABC7 News Bay Area